I was drunk one night after work, singing in a noraebang (Korean karaoke) with co-workers, when Robbie cornered me in the dingy little bathroom. It was awkward. I barely knew the guy, except that he was a co-worker’s boyfriend and a notorious alcoholic. He was a big solid Irish guy, and I couldn’t place his age – Thirty? Fifty? His face was wrinkled and only his bright blue eyes shone out from the mess of grey stubble.
“Your hair, David,” he said. “Your hair is shite.”
“I mean, you’re a handsome fella, in all. You look like Johnny Depp… But that hair… No… That hair has to go.”
I said that I’d been meaning to get a haircut for a while, which was true. The heat made my long hair heavy and hot.
“Let’s go,” he said. His thick Northern Irish accent – much stronger than Karen’s – made him sound commanding, and I followed him outside. We crossed the road and went into the little convenience store, where we bought ten big bottles of beer and several bottles of soju.
“We’re gonna drink this?” I asked.
“Yes, David. Sit down.”
We sat on the plastic chairs outside the store and opened a beer and a soju. Robbie produced two paper cups, and we mixed our drinks.
“So how long you been in Korea then?” Robbie asked.
“A month or so,” I said.
“Damn. A new boy… So whaddaya think of the place?” He was slurring his speech a lot, but it was hard to tell. His accent and his rambling style of banter made him a confusing guy to follow at the best of times.
“Ups and downs.”
“Never lie, David. Never be afraid to say what you really think.”
I thought about it. “I like Korea.”
“Good boy.” Robbie grinned. “Me, too. A man can get good and drunk here.”
We sat and drank several beers and two sojus, and soon Robbie had convinced me to go back to his house. “What about Karen?” I asked.
“Karen will find us,” he said.
We drank a lot at Robbie’s, and listened to some old Bob Dylan CDs. He and Karen didn’t have a TV or a computer. They had books and a CD player. I liked that.
Things were getting blurry. My memory goes in and out of focus for much of the remainder of that night.
However, I recall agreeing to let Robbie cut my hair, and I believe that he convinced me by telling me he had some experience in the field, although I can’t recall what exactly that constituted.
But at some point I was in the bathroom, holding a big bottle of nasty Korean stout. I kept swigging from it, and staring at my reflection. Damn, I though. I look drunk!
“Take your clothes off!” Robbie barked at me. His face was glazed over. It was hard to tell if he was even awake. “Take your clothes off!”
“You’ll get hair on them…”
I took off all my clothes, except my boxer shorts, and sat back down, swigging beer faster and faster. Robbie was apparently gathering equipment in the other room. I could hear him crashing about.
Karen came back, saw me almost naked in her bathroom, and walked through to the livingroom. It didn’t seem to register that anything unusual had happened. She crashed out and fell asleep on the sofa in seconds.
Soon I was lost inside my own head, drinking, drinking, drinking… I had no idea what was going on around me. I could vaguely hear Robbie barking orders at me: “Lift your head!” “Move this way!” “Don’t put your ears in the fucking scissors!” I don’t think I even had my eyes open.
When I did come back into focus, I looked in the mirror and could see myself. I was wasted. I could also see my hair, and it was rapidly getting shorter. I looked retarded. It was the worst haircut I’d seen, and I was soaked. Robbie was frantically spraying water on my head and attacking it with scissors.
I was drunk enough not to care. Hair was hair. I’d buy a hat if it came to it.
Then I noticed the penis.
There was a penis on my shoulder. Robbie’s penis. And his balls. I hadn’t felt it before, but I could see it. Robbie’s saggy cock and balls were resting on my shoulder as he cut my hair.
He was clothed from the waist up – although his shirt was soaked through – and naked from the waste down.
Oh shit! I thought. This is weird.
Embarrassed, I let Robbie continue, although I leant forward to escape his balls. He pulled me back and teabagged my shoulder.
“Dammit, David! I’m cuttin’ the top.”
I just sat and drank faster, and whenever Robbie asked my opinion, I said: “Great! Finished!” and tried to get up.
But it seemed he’d never finish, as my hair got shorter and shorter. I found myself staring into the penis in the mirror and being disgusted. It looked as old as his face, and had less hair.
Eventually, Robbie declared the haircut finished, and I sighed in relief. But the cleanup job remained. Robbie began hosing down the room, as I sat in the middle. He hosed all the hair into the drain, which promptly clogged, and then he got down on his hands and knees, right in front of me, and pulled the hair from the drain. His butt wiggled and shook as he tugged on the stuck hair.
A man’s balls are unpleasant from the traditional front view, but from behind, wearing an asshole for a hat, they are truly repulsive.
I grabbed my clothes and ran out the door, leaving Robbie to wink at an empty seat. I don’t think he even noticed me leaving.